DEFINITIVE STAMPS – STATE SERIES
The agro-based product series can be considered the longest running issue of the modern Malaysian definitive issues since the orchid state series in 1965. Not surprisingly, many reprints have been emerged for the last 20 years since the release of this series, in particular for the period of 1993-1999. Due to the pending of the release of the new state definitives (it only came out on 31 December, 2007; the printing of the agro-based product definitives was done in a small quantity and at ad hoc basis. Some of these reprints survived in a very short time. Thus, this has inflated the value of these stamps generally.
Perforation variation is the most prominent change in these reprints. The original stamps have a perforation of 12. Other perforations such as 14 X 13.75, 14 X 14.5, 14.75 X 14.5 and 13.5 X 13.75 have also come into existence in the reprints. Apart from the perforation, variations in gum (cream, blue, green and mottled) and watermark (inverted, missing and sideway) have also been recorded on these stamps. It seems to be the case that all these varieties are mostly recorded in most used denominations – 5c, 10c, 20c and 30c. Stamps with denominations of 1c, 2c and 15c have long been ceased from production. Thus, these denominations do not contain too many varieties.
These state defintives were printed in a sheet of 100 stamps. Each corner margin of a sheet is printed with plate number and colour guide. The printing of plate number on the sheet margin will identify the batch of printing of the stamps, hence can trace the stamps back to the source and time of printing. The first batch of printing, when these stamps were released in 1986, had a plate number 1A, and the number had since been moving up to the last plate number of 14A. The collecting of plate number of these agro-based series has been challenging and exciting indeed. This is partly attributed to the difficulty in getting corner margin block of 4 from post office counters as margins of stamp sheet are normally torn off before the stamps are sold at the counters. Asking one clerk at a post office counter about the practice of tearing off margins, she told me that this is to prevent customers from littering and sticking torn-off margins on walls and tables.
To add more fun to the agro-based definitives, two prominent changes happened in the reprints much later involving two states – agro-based definitives of Sarawak had its state crest changed officially on September 1, 1993 and new sultan portrait of Terengganu appeared on the reprints in 1998. Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin was crowned on May 15, 1998 as the sultan of Terengganu due to the departure of his Majesty’s father Sultan Mahmud Al Muktafi Billah Shah.
KOPI / Coffea Liberica
The coffee is a lowland species which can be grown on a variety of soils from peat to clay and requires heavy rainfall and high temperature. The coffee shrub grows up to a height of 7 meters. It has large, dark green glossy leaves while the flowers are starlike, white in color and fragrant. Coffee fruits are oval in shape and streaked with red when ripe and turn black upon drying. Coffee starts bearing fruit in the third year..
KELAPA / Cocos Nucifera
The coconut is cultivated in the coastal sands of the tropics and requires a suitable temperature and a well-distributed rainfall. The coconut tree has a crown of leaves at its apex and grows up to a height of 30 meters. The coconut is usually ovoid in shape and is green, yellow or orange in color upon maturity. The varieties of coconut are classified on the basis of palm height, nut size, color and other endosperm features.
KOKO / Theobroma Cacao
Cocoa is a tropical crop which grows best in clay and sandy loams. The cocoa tree grows up to a height of 8 meters. It has large, dark green leaves. The fruits, commonly called pods, each containing between 35 – 45 seeds, are borne on the main stem of the tree and its fan branches. The young cocoa pods are cream, green or red in color and turn to red or purple upon ripening.
LADA HITAM / Piper Nigrum
Pepper is grown at low altitudes in hot wet tropical climates and requires a well-drained alluvial soil rich in humus. The pepper plant is a perennial woody climber with a ligneous stem which can grow up to a height of 10 meters. It has simple alternate leaves on both its climbing and fruiting branches. Its fruits are globose and the exocarp is green in color turning to red when ripe and black when dry.
GETAH / Hevea Brasiliensis
The rubber tree grows well in a hot, humid climate with the temperature ranging from 22 degrees Celsius – 30 degrees Celsius. It grows to a height of about 25 meters under cultivation. The tree bears trifoliate leaves. Its fruits turn brown and woody at maturity. The woody trilobed capsules split open ripening releasing three large brown seeds. Latex which comes into production about 5 years after planting is obtained by tapping the bark of the tree.
KELAPA SAWIT / Elaeis Guineensis
Oil palm requires adequate light and sufficient rainfall evenly distributed throughout the year. The oil palm grows up to a height of 20 meters. Its trunk is formed after three years and its apex is in the form of an inverted cone. Its leaves are produced in a spiral succession from the main stem. The fruit branches are borne in the axil of the lower leaves. The fruits are spherical to ovoid in shape and vary in color from an orange to a dark red.
PADI / Oryza Sativa
Rice is normally found in the tropics. The rice plant can grow up to a height of 150 cm and has erect green culms which are smooth, cylindrical and up to 50 cm long with solid nodes and hollow internodes. Its leaves are alternate in two ranks with a single leaf at each node. The rice grain varies in size depending upon the variety. It takes about 30 days for the rice to ripen.
Agro-Based Products Of Malaysia
Malaysia is basically an agricultural country, well known as the world´s largest producer of rubber and palm oil. Together they occupy more than half of the country´s cultivated land and contribute a major share of the foreign exchange revenue. Beverages such as cocoa and coffee and spices such as pepper are grown successfully and also contribute significantly towards export earnings.
In terms of food production, rice is the major food crop.
Presently, rice the staple food in Malaysia is still being imported. Malaysia is striving to attain self-sufficiency in the production of rice. Other food crops of importance produced locally are coconuts and groudnuts which are good sources of oil. Tapioca and sweet potatoes are also cultivated for their starch. Malaysia continues to import large quantities of maize and soya bean for human consumption as well as for animal feed. There is still a need and room for crop diversification in the country.
Stamp Value : 1c. 2c. 5c, 10c, 15c, 20c, 30c
Paper : SPM watermarked, phosphor coated
Printing Process : Lithography
Printer : Security Printers (M) Sdn Bhd
Designer : Kathy Wong